The US Army is testing a weapon with the capability to invisibly knock a drone from the air, mid-flight.
The ‘Phaser’ — named after Star Trek’s handheld lasers — is a high-powered microwave radiation transmitter perched atop a 20-foot shipping container. The diesel-powered device directs a brief jolt of microwave energy in the direction of an incoming threat which fries its electronics and sends it plummeting back to earth.
Accompanying radar detects the target and then hand the information off to the Phaser. Once the handoff is made, the Phaser tracks the drone until it’s in range, rotates its four-foot dish, and fires a single invisible shot. As seen in the video below, it’s rather uneventful. If you’re expecting flames, laser tracers, or even a loud boom — you’ll be disappointed.
The Phaser isn’t limited to aerial threats, either. The jolt of energy is capable of frying the electronics of just about anything in its range — cars, tanks, helicopters, and improvised electronic devices.
Only recently declassified, the Phaser program began in 2013 at Fort Still, Oklahoma — home of the Air Defense Artillery branch. While the cats out of the bag now, the military isn’t tipping its hand entirely. Certain elements, like the weapon’s range, remain classified.